03/04/10 — Special Olympian will take part in U.S. competition

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Special Olympian will take part in U.S. competition

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on March 4, 2010 1:46 PM

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Dianne Jordan shows her bowling form recently at AMF Boulevard Lanes. Ms. Jordan, who is coached by her sister, Linda, will represent North Carolina at the second annual Special Olympics USA National Games in Nebraska.

Wayne County native Dianne Jordan's favorite part of competitive bowling is round, shiny and golden.

"I like it when I throw in the middle every time, and I win the medal," she said with a smile.

As a Special Olympics athlete, she has won her way to the podium multiple times. And this year, Ms. Jordan will have the chance to represent North Carolina Special Olympics athletes as part of the second annual Special Olympics USA National Games in Lincoln, Neb.

Getting into sports was something Ms. Jordan had always wanted to try, but it was after her mother passed away three years ago that sister and coach Linda Jordan knew Dianne needed a way to help overcome her grief at the loss.

"We got her involved in Special Olympics, and she was able to get out and be with other people," she said.

Ms. Jordan is a multiple-sport athlete, participating in basketball, which her sister coaches, as well as bowling. She is also active in playing bocce ball. So far, she has had a very successful career as a Special Olympics participant, winning medals in team and single bowling, bocce ball and a medal in singles basketball.

Some of Dianne's favorite things about being a Special Olympics athlete happen both on and off the lanes. Meeting new people, making new friends, doing things she has never done before and traveling to new places are some of the ways participating in the events have helped her. It has also brought her closer to her sisters, niece and brother-in-law, who help coach her, make sure she gets to games and practices every week.

Now that Ms. Jordan is preparing to take her game to the next level, she will be bowling six games a week instead of her usual three games. It helps that the bowling lane owner discounts the games for the Special Olympics athletes, and that Dianne has a good coach in Don Jenkins, Mrs. Jordan said.

Additionally, Ms. Jordan is on a special training regimen of healthy food and lots of walking. The committee asked that all athletes walk at least 28 miles before coming to the national games, and Ms. Jordan hopes to get her walking in a bit at a time.

And on a personal level, it has helped her find direction and a way to spend time with her newfound friends and teammates. Even though she lost her job last year, her sports activities have helped her stay positive.

"Special Olympics has really put a great impact on my life, it's fun and exciting," Ms. Jordan said.

She is looking forward to representing North Carolina's Special Olympics this summer, and is excited to be traveling on an airplane by herself for the first time.

And although she wants to win, just being a good athlete and having fun is important, too.

"I want the Special Olympics to know that I will try really hard in my sport and do my best, and not give up," she said.

The state Special Olympics organization is helping Ms. Jordan cover expenses for the trip, but Ms. Jordan's family is seeking to raise money to help replace the $1,000 it will cost in equipment, travel expenses, uniforms and housing for her to participate in the national games.

By replacing the money, other athletes will have the chance to enjoy the sporting events as much as her sister has, Mrs. Jordan said.

To donate to help support Special Olympics athletes, visit Dianne Jordan's page at www.firstgiving.com/ lindajordan.